I’m listening, and enjoying the Cobain 50 podcast from KEXP. Nirvana was a very important force on my life from basically mid-1993 until present day. I figured, to borrow a phrase from Alex Steed, here are the various lights this band has shined on my human existence.


I first heard Nirvana, like many people my age, around October 1991 when Smells Like Teen Spirit was breaking. I was mostly listening to some urban radio station from Albany at the time because it would play rap quite a bit, which I dug at the time. The hitch was I could only get the signal at night and I had some elaborate antenna setup to at least get a signal without static. I remember that and Enter Sandman by Metallica were getting a lot of play. Both of those songs were discussed quite a bit with my Jr. High friends. Even at this early point, understanding the lyrics was a frustration point.

I picked up Nevermind a little after Come As You Are was released as a single. My parents would take a trip to the Plattsburg Air Force base every six months or so to stock up on tax free generic branded cigarettes. The base also had a PX with a fairly large record / tape / CD section. I had $10 or so, and after picking out some “exotic” snacks, I had enough left over to get a tape. Embarrassingly I picked up the “MackDaddy” by Sir Mix-a-lot, but the lady at the checkout would not let me buy it because it had the parental advisory sticker. Running out of time, I grabbed Nevermind, which was my second choice. The two hour ride home, listening to that, was pretty intense. I was not sure what to make of the whole second side and the swirly, out of focus pictures on the insert. I had originally lumped them in with the other long haired rock that I had been exposed to at the time: Guns and Roses, Def Leppard, Whitesnake, etc. But this… this was not like those at all.

I also remember I got some new basketball shoes that promptly fell apart that evening after I got home and went to play at the nearby court. They lasted all of about 15 minutes. Not related to Nirvana, but I’m still disappointed in those shoes to this day.


In the summer of 1993 a friend gifted me a copy of Incesticide on cassette. I spent a lot of time on car and bus rides flipping the tape over switching between Sliver and Aneurysm. However, it was the liner notes that really stuck with me and I guess started my radicalization. And who are The Raincoats? What’s maximumrocknroll? So many questions.

I also remember being late for school the day the Hearth Shaped Box video premiered. I thought it was so amazing. REMs Losing My Religion, I think, premiered around the same time. I was late for school that day as well. Pretty wild time for music videos looking back on it.


For Christmas in 1993 I received a gift certificate for the record store in the mall. Now, back in those days music came on physical media and the closest place to purchase said media was a 30 minute drive away, and the trip was only made on special occasions. Such as redeeming Christmas presents. This would’ve been the first or second weekend in 1994. I picked up In Utero, on CD this time as I had job which afforded me this upgrade. But still 90% of my listening was through dubbed tapes on a no-name walkman with the earbuds from a Gameboy. And let me tell you, it was the belief at the time that tapes dubbed yourself from CDs were audibly better than purchased tapes.

While at the mall, I also wandered to the the Walden Books that was a couple of stores away. I found “Come As Your Are”, Michael Azerrad’s book, which I also purchased after reading through the first chapter or so in the store. On the way home, we stopped at the Pizza Hut right down the street from the mall for dinner and I still remember the whole scene. Dim lights, the semi-translucent red plastic cups with a pitcher of Pepsi and I’m reading my new book while waiting first for our order to be taken, and then for the pizza to arrive. It’s a little past 5pm but it’s already dark outside and it’s warm enough that the snow is melted a bit and you can hear the sounds of the cars on the wet road outside. I’ve gotten to the chapter about Kurt’s childhood, and I’m basically reading about my own, but of someone 10 years older. It was obviously 100% the same, but enough for me to realize, for the first time in my life, that someone else has gone through a lot of the same shit I had. And had apparently gotten out alive (…so far) and thrived. I now had the permission? strength? to. be. myself.


By March 1994 I had scrounged up a guitar and took the requisite 2 lessons. During the first one, the important information that I actually had to push the strings into the frets to make a sound was imparted unto me along with some simple chord shapes. Second lesson was how to play Red River Valley and another song that I forget at this point. But that was enough to figure out that at least the verse part of Pennyroyal Tea was within the bounds of the 3 or 4 chords I now knew.


About a month later, and about 30 years from when I’m writing this now, a group of friends and I were playing cards in my living room when a Kurt Loder came on TV, barely keeping his shit together, to announce the Kurt Cobain had killed himself.

Yet another moment in this story that is forever burned in my memory. That was the exact moment when my “childhood” ended and the process of my becoming the adult I am began. And I don’t think I’m alone in that experience.

Strangely, I’d be sitting in the same seat, and hear about in the same way, about other deaths over the next couple of years. Kristen Pfaff, Shannon Hoon and Jerry Garcia being the most notable.


During the summer of 1994 I discovered The Sound Barrier, a skate shop that also had a small CD section (where I finally found The Raincoats!!! and Bikini Kill and The Ramones) and magazines including Flipside, Punk Planet and Maximiumrockandroll. Through this I found that an actual real punk rock band, Rancid, would be touring and had a show a mere 100 miles away. This was the show when AFI was opening and Davey hit his head on the ceiling. Yes, I was actually at that show. Apparently everyone and their mother was there, but it was Saratoga Winners opening for Rancid and I still have the ticket stub somewhere. Bite me.

Through the magazines I also discovered the network of indie labels and mail order. And that brought me lifelong loves like Elliott Smith and Sleater Kinney.

The next few years were a whirlwind. I started a band that went nowhere. Started a fanzine that was a lot of fun and also went nowhere. It did get me a very short stint at MMRnR a little bit after Tim Yo passed, before life intervened on my end and I ended up staying in Vermont.

I also found that one of, if not the best, of the country’s small rock venues was only 75 miles away. Club Toast in Burlington. I would make a trip up 2 or 3 times a month to catch touring bands like L7, Pansy Division, NothingFace, Pavement, etc. Along with local bands like Five Seconds Expired, Chainsaws and Children, Zola Turn and bands from Burlington’s sister city, Boston like Tree, Clutch, and the mighty Sam Black Church. Oh, and a little band called Dropkick Murphys. I wonder what happened to them?

Being dirt poor due to spending so much money on gas, I somehow finagled a “job” of helping with sound and after show cleanup. I was paid the amount of whatever the admission was that night plus free soda, which seemed like a good deal at the time. This carried over to Higher Ground when that opened in Winooski and 242 Main.

Two funny 242 stories.

Story 1

In the early 2000’s Burlington High School banned same sex couples from attending Prom, so Le Tigre put on a Queer Prom the same night at 242. It was actually just a nice coincidence as they already had the show booked, but took advantage of the opportunity. I was not aware of this prior to the show, and brought a friend who was somewhat homophobic. I figured it out pretty early on what was happening, but he took a while to catch on. The look on his face when he did brought me such joy.

Story 2, the second story

The Misfits were booked to play 242 and during my drive up, I saw so many cards with Misfits stickers I knew it was going to be a big show. I had some other event that evening but stopped by 242 early anyways to say hi and help if I could. A little while after I arrived, the Misfits arrived as well, in full costume. This is hours before showtime. We’re in the venue and the Misfits are saying “Is this the dressing room? It’s too small.”

“You’re already dressed? This is the venue, the stage is right there.”

“No, no this won’t do. We can maybe make this work as the dressing room, but we need somewhere bigger to play. Thousands of people will be here.”

So we start talking to the Memorial Auditorium. The full upstairs is booked for some other thing, but the Annex is available. We take them over there.

“Again, this is way too small.”

“This holds 2500 people, it’ll be fine.”

“Nope, it won’t work. Is there anyplace to eat around here? We’ll grab dinner while you sort this out.”

And they leave. “I guess the show’s cancelled.”

Then I’m walking up Church Street and there’s some Misfits fans in full regalia eating outside at Main Street Pizza. “Hey! Did you find a place for us to play yet?”. Oh, those aren’t Misfit fans, those are the Misfits. Eating pizza. Outside on the street. Looking like fucking idiots.


All that stuff above? Who I am now? It never happens if Nirvana doesn’t break into the mainstream, gets played on Top 40 stations, and some lost kid in Podunk Vermont gets exposed to it.

Lost S6E3 Thoughts

Just one quick one I haven’t seen covered elsewhere.

If Sayid has “the sickness”, who else have we seen in a similar situation? Seemingly dead, but CPR’d by Jack back to life?


And it was after that is when we saw the really Dark Charlie, relapsing, killing Ethan, having strange dreams, attempting to “baptize” Aaron, etc. Charlie was infected, but he was cured at some point and overcame the “darkness”. Was it from being close to the Swan hatch implosion, or maybe building the church with Eko? Either way, there’s hope for Sayid yet.

Some Random Lost Thoughts

Thanks to Sunghee I’ve really enjoyed Lost. We’ve caught up in the past year or so thanks to Netflix.

Here’s some theories, thoughts, observations for the upcoming final season.

  • John Locke is still Locke, not the smoke monster / man in black. But the Locke dead body is real, and he did die. How so? The bunnies in The Orchid station that were part of the time travel experiments actually duplicated. There were two Locke’s running around the desert. This also means there’s two Bens. This does not mean MiB cannot take over dead bodies.
  • Every vessel (plane, ship, raft) that has come to the island has had various roles filled. There’s always been a doctor, and musician that I’ve seen. There’s probably also been a prisioner and a guard, a pregnant woman, etc. Why?
  • Man in Black’s body was killed at some point, but his spirit cannot die. Same thing with Jacob.
  • Whatever happens happened is the main rule. Alternate timelines don’t seem to fit in canon at this point. Faraday was always going to be killed by his mother, Jack was never going to help little Ben, etc.
  • Faraday’s mother has his journal which has extensive information about what’s going to happen on the island for the next 30 years. This is shared with Charles Widmore, but not with Ben. Ben has some information, but he has too big of a role to play emotionally, so he has to be kept in the dark about most things.
  • Charles Widmore is Penny and Desmond’s “Charlie”, and therefor, his own grandpa.

Best of 2006 – Music

As always, these lists are compiled from my iTunes listening habits.

*Top 10 Songs Released in 2006*

1. _Dynamite_ Scissorfight from “Jaggernaut”
2. _Mange_ Scissorfight from “Jaggernaut”
3. _The Dredge_ Scissorfight from “Jaggernaut”
4. _Jaggernaut_ Scissorfight from “Jaggernaut”
5. _Digging Grave_ Scissorfight from “Jaggernaut”
6. _Funhouse Skull_ Scissorfight from “Jaggernaut”
7. _Fang_ Scissorfight from “Jaggernaut”
8. _Victory Over Horseshit_ Scissorfight from “Jaggernaut”
9. _Backwoods_ Scissorfight from “Jaggernaut”
10. _Sun Hunt_ Scissorfight from “Victory Over Horseshit”

Oh crap. Well Scissorfight’s “Jaggernaut” is the album of the year, hands down. It’s actually could be the album of the decade as far as I’m concerned. It’s that good. Perfect even.

Ok, so what else was good in 2006 that wasn’t Scissorfight?

Lady Sovereign “Public Warning”
John and June Carter Cash “Collections”
Girl Talk “Night Ripper”
Johnny Cash “American V”

But really, if you dig any form of guitar based rock GET THE SCISSORFIGHT ALBUM.

Korean Wine Bar

Scene: Seoul, Korea. Approx 9pm.

The night starts off with Sunghee and I meeting Friend #1 as we get out of the subway station. We wander around for a bit looking for the “nice” “American” restaurant. We’re going to the American restaurant because they want to make sure that I’m happy with the food. We finally find “Jaz Cafe” and head in. It’s nice and modern and we actually have a raised table with chairs. Very American. I review the menu and order a “Steak”. Friend #1 orders a “Philly Cheese Steak” (the reason for quotes will become apparent later). I also order a Diet Coke but the waiter does not understand me. Sunghee tries translation for me. “Diet-oo Cocoo”. The waiter still isn’t getting it. He goes and looks in the soda refrigerator and consults with the chef. He comes back and says he has no idea what we’re talking about. Friend #1 jumps to the rescue. “Cocoo Cola Lite-too”. Ahhh! That’s it!

The meal starts off with the traditional American Cream of… well nothing soup. Think of Cream of Broccoli or Cream of Potato soup with out the Broccoli or Potato. I devour the soup because I’m really, really hungry and I can’t wait for my “steak” (or as the menu calls it, “The best beef steak in the city!”). Finally our meal comes and my steak is about 4″ around and 3″ high. Wait a second, this isn’t steak, this is a meatloaf. Yes, apparently in Korea “steak” means meatloaf. It wasn’t even very good, very bland and they had no ketchup. Friend #1’s “Philly Cheese Steak” actually did have strips of beef in it, onions, a small amount of cheese-wiz and tons of MAYONNAISE. It was also served on grilled, triangle-shaped, panini bread. It was very gross.

We finished up dinner and headed off to meet up with Friend #2, aka Sunghee #2. I only remember her name because it’s the same as my wife’s. Anyways, we wander around for a while longer until Friend #2 makes her appearance by jumping out from behind a bus stop and tackling my wife and almost takes me down too. Friend #2 shows off her new tattoos, which are actually her eyebrows. This is apparently the new hot thing to do. First you electrolysis your eyebrows off, then you have new ones tattooed in. No plucking or penciling in for the rest of your life! She’s also had the “eye surgery” done, which along with her tan and round face make her look almost Spanish instead of Korean.

With Friend #2 in tow, we set off for more wandering. And wandering, and wandering. We’re looking for some bar and walk in circles for 30 minutes while I’m pointing out all the bars I see, hoping that one of them is good enough. Friend #1 gets on the phone three times for directions and we finally find it. I’m pretty sure we walked by this place twice before, but I didn’t know it was a bar so I didn’t point it out.

We walk in and inside there’s a wading-pool / river thing running through the floor. People have their shoes off and are sitting on the side of the pool with their feet in the water. But we’re heading up stairs to get a bed. Here’s a clip from a movie that was filmed at the same place:

Sunghee and her friends order a bottle of wine. I try a bit of the wine and don’t really like it so I review the drink menu. Hmm, lots of wine. I hadn’t yet learned of the magical powers of Soju at this point in my trip, and the only thing I can read on the menu is Margarita, so I get one of those.

We also get “food” which is a sliced tomato with sliced tofu covered in soy sauce. I don’t touch that either.

We also took lots of pictures. Here’s Friend #1, Friend #2 and Sunghee.

After I finish a couple Margaritas I realize that I’m going to have to pee very soon. I ask my wife to ask her friend where the restroom is and I get an answer of “out the door, around the corner”. Alright, I go out the door and around the corner, see what looks to be a bathroom, but wait, there’s the universal “woman bathroom” sign on the door, but no “man bathroom” sign. I stare at the door for about 10 seconds, trying to figure out what to do. Friend #1 probably doesn’t know where the men’s room is so there’s no sense in going back to ask. If I go in this one, what are the chances that it’s being used and the girl who’s in there freaking out? At this moment the waitress walks by and I get her attention and point to the ladies room door and then to me, then to the door while saying “Mens?!? Bath… room!?!??!”. She shakes her head “no no no” and does the “come here” sign with her hand and starts walking down the stairs. I follow her down the stairs, past the bar, and into the kitchen where she picks up a plate of cheese, turns around and starts walking towards me going “Out! Out! Out!” with a shooing motion. I back out of the kitchen and she walks past me back up the stairs. Hmmm. I ask the bartender “Bath… rooom?” He points around the corner, and Ah-ha! Mens room! There is a stall, which is being used and a wall with water running down it into a drain below the floor. I’m thinking the wall is a decoration and while I’m waiting for the stall to empty another guy walks in and pees on the water wall. Oh, ok. I’ll pee on the water wall too which was kind of cool.

I head back upstairs and Friend #3 has arrived and brought a cake for us. You can also see the tomato / tofu / soy sauce concoction here.



We finish up the cake and head off to the subway station. Along the way we pass by this “Art and Crafts” store, as my wife calls it. If this store was in America, the only people who would shop here would be 12 year old girls. The store was filled with pink pencils, fuzzy pens, heart shaped notebooks and “Happy Virus” stickers.